A $232.47 million wish list of capital improvements and public projects has been submitted by city of Sherman staff. Those projects could see life over the next five years through the capital improvement plan, which includes the $16 million Sherman Police Station project that was approved by the Sherman City Council last week alongside the 2019-2020 budget.
“It is our plan just to get out in front of the council and citizens about the things that may be coming up,” City Manager Robby Hefton said.
These projects, which range from street repairs to water and storm water projects, have not been officially approved, but only the first year of the projects has been funded through the upcoming budget.
The project list is broken into three categories based on the funding source. Nearly $125.71 million will be coming from the general fund, with an additional $78.56 million coming from the utility fund. Storm water projects are expected to cost about $19.2 million, but city staff said there could be opportunities for funding through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The first year of the plan, which has been funded, will see nearly $31.84 million in projects slated to take place. Nearly half of the funding is related to engineering and other street infrastructure projects across the city. Many of the larger projects are centered along the FM 1417 corridor ahead of the opening of the future Sherman High School next year.
The city is slated to spend $7 million on phases two and three of the West Travis Street extension project which will run from Northgate Drive to Moore Street. This will provide additional connectivity to the school site by linking FM 1417 to the U.S. Highway 75 service road.
Moore Street will also see improvements when it sees a $1 million extension from West Travis to Park. Another $1.2 million project will then connect East Park to First Street.
The 1417 corridor will see another access project when Flanary Road is extended to Progress Drive with an expected cost of $2 million.
For the 2020-2021 year, the plan calls for $69.55 million in funding for projects, but city officials said these are only tentative plans. Officials noted that some of the more expensive projects will likely never be approved.
More than $17.9 million or projects related to police and fire service are slated in the plan to be approved in the 2020-2021 fiscal year. The plan calls for $2.9 million in funding for the construction of a new training tower and training facility. The station opened last October after the original station was closed to make way for the Legacy Village development.
The 2020-2021 list also includes $15 million for the Sherman Police Station project, which will see the construction of a new police station closer to the 1417 corridor and ongoing growth in the area. The project was discussed at length in recent meetings by the council, who debated between renovating the existing station or building a new facility to meet the department’s needs.
City staff said the city should be able to finance many of the projects based on its expected 3.5 percent growth to its tax base each year.
However, the plan did spark some reservations from city council member Shawn Teamann, who was the lone dissenting vote when the council ultimately approved the plan. While he noted that the plan has historically been seen as a “Christmas list” by city staff, he noted hard conversations city officials have had in recent months during the budgeting process.
“If the CIP plan that was presented is followed, the city would be back in a similar position next year with the M&O (maintenance & operation) rate,” Teamann said via text message. “Although we were able to pull a rabbit out of the hat this year to offset the tax increase, I do not believe it will be possible to offset $40 million plus in CIPs, the majority of which would be using debt.”
What do you think about the cost of the capital improvement plan? Let local government reporter Michael Hutchins know at MHutchins@HeraldDemocrat.com.